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Bring up the discipline of Occupational Therapy and you might get many
questions as to its purpose.
Is it a therapy to help get a patient back to work? It does say “Occupational”…
Is it the same as Physical Therapy? Is it just for the upper body?
What is Occupational Therapy anyway?
The term “Occupational Therapy” can be confusing. It carries the misconception that the profession’s focus is on vocational counseling and job training.
The word “occupation” as defined in Webster’s Dictionary is “an activity in which one engages.” Occupational therapists promote skill development and independence in all daily activities. For an adult, this may mean looking at the areas of self-care, homemaking, leisure, and work. The “occupations” of childhood may include playing in the park with friends, washing hands, going to the bathroom, cutting with scissors, drawing, etc.
Occupational therapy is therapy with the goal of assisting people in developing “skills for the job of living”. Occupational therapists work with patients to improve coordination, fine motor function and activities of daily living.
Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing support for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
Occupational therapy services typically include:
Common users of occupational therapy include: those recovering from workplace injuries of the hand, shoulder, wrist or elbow, stroke survivors, those rehabilitating from long illnesses or surgery, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, amputees, children with disabilities, and those new to wheelchairs, canes, walkers and other adaptive devices.
Occupational therapists can often assist in preventing injuries by assessing worksites and advising on chair and computer keyboard placement, and OTs encourage aging in place for elders by helping identify hazards in the home.
Occupational therapists are part of a team, working closely with physical and speech therapists to keep recovery balanced.
Muenster Memorial Hospital has a three-member Occupational Therapy team, made up of Rose Ganzon and Leslie Schilling, occupational therapists, and Christy Bezner, occupational therapy assistant.
Rose Ganzon graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy. She is certified in neuro-development treatment. Rose has additional training in myofascial release techniques, casting and splinting, and swallowing difficulties. She is experienced in treating neurological deficits and comfortable in a variety of therapy settings.
Leslie Schilling received her degree in Occupational Therapy from Texas Women’s University. She is a certified hand therapist.
Christy Bezner earned an Associate of Applied Science degree as an occupational therapy assistant. She has extra training in geriatrics, hands and orthopedics.
Muenster Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Center is equipped with an ADL (Activities of Daily Living) kitchen, complete with a stove, oven, refrigerator, cabinets, as well as a washer and dryer. Patients can practice cooking, cleaning and doing their laundry – simple tasks that can become difficult following injury or debilitating illness.
Occupational Therapy is the ultimate connection for moving patients from a state of injury and illness back to the activities that make life meaningful. Whether it is making dinner for your family, going back to work or school or returning to a hobby you enjoyed, occupational therapy can help you reach those goals.
For more information on what conditions qualify for occupational therapy or what can be done to help you adapt after a health crisis or injury, call MMH Therapy Services, 940-759-6198.
*Sections of information courtesy of American Occupational Therapy Association.